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1: Let a man account us, as servants of Christ - The
original word properly signifies such servants as laboured at
the oar in rowing vessels; and, accordingly, intimates the
pains which every faithful minister takes in his Lord's work.
O God, where are these ministers to be found? Lord, thou
knowest. And stewards of the mysteries of God - Dispenseth
of the mysterious truths of the gospel.
3: Yea, I judge not myself - My final state is not to be
determined by my own judgment.
4: I am not conscious to myself of anything evil; yet am
I not hereby justified - I depend not on this, as a sufficient
justification of myself in God's account. But he that judgeth
me is the Lord - By his sentence I am to stand or fall.
5: Therefore judge nothing before the time - Appointed for
judging all men. Until the Lord come, who, in order to pass
a righteous judgment, which otherwise would be impossible,
will both bring to light the things which are now covered with
impenetrable darkness, and manifest the most secret springs
of action, the principles and intentions of every heart. And
then shall every one - Every faithful steward, have praise of God.
6: These things - Mentioned,(1Co 1:10), &c.
I have by a very obvious figure transferred to myself and
Apollos - And Cephas, instead of naming those particular preachers
at Corinth, to whom ye are so fondly attached. That ye may learn
by us - From what has been said concerning us, who, however
eminent we are, are mere instruments in God's hand. Not to
think of any man above what is here written - Or above what
scripture warrants.(1Co 3:7)
7: Who maketh thee to differ - Either in gifts or graces.
As if thou hadst not received it - As if thou hadst it originally
8: Now ye are full - The Corinthians abounded with
spiritual gifts; and so did the apostles: but the apostles,
by continual want and sufferings, were kept from self -
complacency. The Corinthians suffering nothing, and having
plenty of all things, were pleased with and applauded
themselves; and they were like children who, being raised in
the world, disregard their poor parents. Now ye are full,
says the apostle, in a beautiful gradation, ye are rich, ye
have reigned as kings - A proverbial expression, denoting the
most splendid and plentiful circumstances. Without any thought
of us. And I would ye did reign - In the best sense: I would ye
had attained the height of holiness. That we might reign
with you - Having no more sorrow on your account, but sharing
in your happiness.
9: God hath set forth us last, as appointed to death
- Alluding to the Roman custom of bringing forth those
persons last on the stage, either to fight with each other,
or with wild beasts, who were devoted to death; so that, if
they escaped one day, they were brought out again and again,
till they were killed.
10: We are fools, in the account of the world, for
Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ - Though ye are
Christians, ye think yourselves wise; and ye have found means
to make the world think you so too. We are weak - In presence,
in infirmities, in sufferings. But ye are strong - In just
11: And are naked - Who can imagine a more glorious
triumph of the truth, than that which is gained in these
circumstances when St. Paul, with an impediment in his
speech, and a person rather contemptible than graceful,
appeared in a mean, perhaps tattered, dress before persons
of the highest distinction, and yet commanded such attention.
and made such deep impressions upon them!
12: We bless - suffer it - intreat - We do not return
revilings, persecution, defamation; nothing but blessing.
13: We are made as the filth of the world, and
offscouring of all things - Such were those poor wretches
among the heathens, who were taken from the dregs of the
people, to be offered as expiatory sacrifices to the infernal
gods. They were loaded with curses, affronts, and injuries,
all the way they went to the altars; and when the ashes of
those unhappy men were thrown into the sea, these very names
were given them in the ceremony.
14: I do not write these things to shame you, but as my
beloved children I warn you - It is with admirable prudence and
sweetness the apostle adds this, to prevent any unkind
construction of his words.
15: I have begotten you - This excludes not only Apollos,
his successor, but also Silas and Timothy, his companions; and
the relation between a spiritual father and his children brings
with it an inexpressible nearness and affection.
16: Be ye followers of me - In that spirit and behaviour
which I have so largely declared.
17: My beloved son - Elsewhere he styles him "brother,"(2Co 1:1);
but here paternal affection takes place. As I teach
- No less by example than precept.
18: Now some are puffed up - St. Paul saw, by a divine
light, the thoughts which would arise in their hearts. As if
I would not come - Because I send Timothy.
19: I will know - He here shows his fatherly authority
Not the big, empty speech of these vain boasters, but
how much of the power of God attends them.
20: For the kingdom of God - Real religion, does not
consist in words, but in the power of God ruling the heart.
21: With a rod - That is, with severity.